Dell purgatory

Yes, Dell’s profit rose in a snapshot but the clouds are gray:

…However, the double-digit growth rate does not portend a return to high growth for the company, the world’s largest seller of PC’s. … The conservative forecast for revenue growth dimmed analysts’ enthusiasm. “It was really a mixed bag,” said William Shope, an analyst with J. P. Morgan. “Impressive revenue growth came with a degradation of margins.” Dell’s gross profit margin was 17.8 percent, the lowest since 2002, said Mr. Shope. “The slowing growth and deteriorating margins could mean that 2006 will be a more challenging year than 2005 was,” said Brent Bracelin, an analyst with Pacific Crest Securities in Portland, Ore.

You can grow too big. And being the biggest isn’t the only way to make money. Sometimes, being the best still is.